Sometimes, we tend to forget about Jack Hartman. Among Henry Iba’s great disciples, Hartman ranks behind Don Haskins and Eddie Sutton. Haskins won the NCAA title in 1966 at Texas Western. Sutton coached three Final Four teams. Hartman didn’t get Southern Illinois or Kansas State to a Final Four.
But he was a heck of a coach. I wrote about the Iba coaching tree in my Monday column on the late Gerald Stockton. You can read that here.
I received an email from reader Cody Bannister, who provided me a link to the Michigan Daily story last spring about Michigan basketball coach John Beilein’s offense. You can read that story here. But the nugget in the story is this. Beilein got his offense in 1987 basically Andy Russo, who then was coaching at the University of Washington. Beilein, then coaching at LeMoyne College, wrote to Russo, who responded with a “blue mimeographed ditto, worn from years of use. It diagrammed the two-guard offense of Jack Hartman, the famous coach at Kansas State who had retired the year before. Its origins probably date to famous coach Henry Iba of Oklahoma State — both Russo and Hartman worked on Iba’s staff at points in their careers.”
Hartman was born Oct. 7, 1925, in Dewey and grew up in the northern Oklahoma town of Shidler. He went to Oklahoma A&M and played basketball for Iba and also was a stellar Cowboy quarterback in the 1940s and played quarterback in the Canadian Football League.
Then Hartman became a coach. He was on Iba’s staff in 1954, then became head coach at Coffeyville (Kan.) Junior College (1955-62), Southern Illinois (1962-70) and Kansas State (1970-86). Hartman was not a good coach. He was a great coach.
In 1967, Hartman coached a Walt Frazier-led Southern Illinois to the NIT championship, when that tournament was a huge deal. In 16 KSU seasons, Hartman’s record was 295-169. He won Big Eight titles in 1972, 1973 and 1977. Lon Kruger was his point guard on those first two teams. Hartman four times reached NCAA regional finals. His KSU teams included great guards: Kruger, Mike Evans, Chucky Williams, Rolando Blackman.
Haskins, Sutton and Hartman were the three giants of Iba’s coaching tree. How widespread are those roots? Three of our state’s four major-college head coaches stem from the Iba tree.
Kruger played for Hartman, who played for Iba.
ORU’s Scott Sutton played for his dad, who played for Iba.
And OSU’s Travis Ford, before transferring to Kentucky, played at Missouri for Norm Stewart, who played at Missouri for Sparky Stalcup, who played at Northwest Missouri State in the early 1930s for a young coach named Henry Iba.